History of NIEA

During the “First Convocation of American Indian Scholars,” held at Princeton University, several American Indian educators discussed the concerns facing Indian educators and issues with the education of Indian children. This large meeting event was the first time for many Indian educators to share, discuss and learn about ideas that were important to Indian people in the United States in 1969. Many convocation attendees desired for an opportunity to continue the discourse and share ways to improve the education of Indian children. Founding members, educators and tribal leadership stressed the need to create an opportunity for professionals in the Indian communities to discuss common interests, talk about the education of Indian students, and explore ways to be more effective teachers, better school administrators, and discover practical experiences that might provide a path for improving schools serving Indian students. To meet educator, student, and community needs, the founding members incorporated The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) on August 21, 1970 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

To convene educators to explore ways of improving schools and the educational systems serving Native children; to promote the maintenance and continued development of language and cultural programs; and to develop and implement strategies for influencing local, state, and federal policy and decision makers.